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Minimalism

17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Do you buy things frequently on impulse without thought to whether you truly need something or what you will use it for? You might be a mindless consumer.

Consuming is a necessary part of life. We need things to survive and thrive and at other times consuming brings us happiness. We work hard for our money so why shouldn’t we reward ourselves with nice things? This is all fine and life shouldn’t be about constant deprivation, but there is a point when consuming can become mindless consumption  and get out of hand, causing harm that may not be easily identifiable to most.

Have you ever done the following; bought two of something when you only needed one because it was on sale, bought something you saw in a shop without giving consideration to how or where you were going to store it or bought something only to realise when you got home that you already had that item and had just forgotten or misplaced it? These are tell tale signs of mindless consumption. 

Mindless consumption occurs when you buy without thought, usually on impulse. If you mimic these behaviors you might be carrying out behaviour that is consistent with a mindless consumer:

  • You hit the shops regularly, particularly to alleviate boredom to browse the aisles or shelves to see what takes your fancy
  • You spend hours each week at the shops and consider shopping your hobby
  • you buy things on credit because they were not a planned purchase so you didn’t save up in advance in order to purchase the item
  • you buy things just because they are on sale
  • you buy new clothes when you know that you can’t fit the ones you have in your wardrobe
  • you find it hard to stick to your budget or run out of money well before pay day

If you find yourself buying things you don’t need or that you regret on a regular basis you may need to reassess your shopping habits. Mindless consumption can lead to anxiety and stress. Whether it’s from clutter in your home that makes day to day life harder, stress about keeping up with credit card repayments or buyers remorse when you’ve spent money you weren’t supposed to on things you realise you probably didn’t need.

If you want to change the cycle and learn to be a more mindful consumer check out these 17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life.

  1. Learn to be content with what you have

A large part of our consumer culture is trying to fit in with the people around us. Whether that be having a newer car, most recent fashion, or the most awesome looking holidays. We often compare ourselves to others we see on social media that seem to have perfect lives, disregarding the true picture. It’s unrealistic to compare our lives with others when we don’t know their financial circumstances. Compare apples with apples not apples with oranges!

When we look at others and what awesome things they may have we need to remember that we don’t their income, what expenses they have, how much they save each week or how much debt they have taken on in order to fund their lifestyle choices. Unless they tell us their most intimate financial details we can’t possibly know and we shouldn’t need to worry as we all have our own financials to worry about. Maybe they earn good money and saved up for their car over a period of years or maybe they are living week to week and bought everything on credit. Comparing our lives to others when we don’t know the full picture gives us an uneven viewpoint and takes valuable time away from our own goals worrying about others.

If you don’t have a new car and are driving your regular old car be content that you can get from A to B and not have a car loan to pay each week. If you’re always wanting the next designer handbag or latest Nike runners you will never find happy. With the current weekly fashion cycle there will always be something new and more in than what you just bought there to make you feel inadequate – if you let it. Step outside of the consumer rat race. Make decisions that will benefit your life and increase your true happiness, not to impress others.

2. Look for happiness in experiences not things

Choosing experiences over stuff can lead to more mindful spending and increase happiness levels. Compare your thoughts and feelings about past purchases versus experiences. When was the last time you reminisced about the $500 designer jeans you bought or the must have new heels that were irresistible? Think back to Christmas two years ago. What did you get? Can you even remember? It’s highly likely that you can’t remember the awesome stuff you got at Christmas or what you bought at the mall but you can remember the experiences you had on your last holiday. That is because the memories we create, and the relationships we form and maintain are more important than the gifts that were exchanged or stuff we bought.

Reduce the focus and value you put on stuff. Having 100 pairs of heels might seem like a dream come true but could you be just as happy with 10 killer heels that you love and a relaxing holiday to explore a new and foreign destination? Instead of spending $100 a week shopping on things you will probably leave lying at the bottom of your wardrobe and forget about, imagine if you had instead saved that money and put it towards an overseas vacations with your family or friends. Or signed up for something that truly bought value and happiness to your life like joining a martial arts class, buying tickets to see your favourite band in concert, or getting those singing lessons you always dream about. These things can bring a whole new level of happiness and growth that can continue to bring contentment well after you’ve lost interest in your new purchases.

3. Get hobbies other than shopping

NY Daily News reported that the average women in America spends 399 hours a year shopping over 301 days. Alarmingly, Adweek  published results of a study by Varsity Brands that identified 80% of 13-18 year old girls listed one of their main hobbies as shopping. There is an increasing trend towards spending more and more of our time consuming.

Hobbies can provide us with many benefits; we can get exercise, learn new skills, develop our creativity, make new friends and find valuable uses for our free time that don’t include work or watching TV. Shopping can become an extremely expensive hobby with very little true benefit. There is nothing wrong with  shopping for things that we need as we need them. But when we shop aimlessly and unnecessary, whilst we are stuck in 4 walls searching endlessly for the next bargain we are missing out on other value adding activities like visiting an Art Gallery, learning a new language, spending time exercising out in nature or doing anything else that might be of interest to you. Not to mention the True Cost of all  that stuff that we walk away with including the environmental impact.

If you find yourself hitting the shops every day or very frequently, consider whether you are investing more of your time then you would like at the shops and consider alternative activities that you would enjoy over your next visit to the mall.

4. Stop shopping socially

If your only plans with friends are to go out shopping together reconsider your catch ups and change them to something more rewarding and less detrimental to your wallet. Consider going out for a coffee together instead or a river walk or join a class together. Find a new social activity to replace the regular shopping expedition. Speak to your friends about your desire to spend less time and money at the shops. You may find that they have been thinking the same thing and you can all help each other with your new found goal to reduce your shopping trips. Or if you really do love shopping with a friend, make sure you bring your list that you have built up an thought about over time to help you stick to your goals of shopping more mindfully.

5. Adopt a capsule wardrobe

Reduce the desire to shop for unnecessary clothing by adopting a capsule wardrobe. When you only have 30 or so of your favourite pieces to mix and match in your wardrobe, you will no longer feel the need to continually shop for more clothing as you will be content with what you have in your own home. You’ll also be more aware of what you do. Having a capsule wardrobe will help reduce the impulse buy clothing as you will always have something you love to wear on any given day. Set yourself a new goal, if you bring a new clothing item home that you need to get rid of something else to limit the temptation to buy something you probably don’t need. As you shop ask yourself what am I willing to donate in order to take this home? This will help you to reduce mindless consumption and help you only bring home what you genuinely need and will use.

 

 

6. Have a wishlist of things you want

Avoid walking into shopping centres with no plan or purpose. If you walk around aimlessly into store after store, you are guaranteed to succumb to temptation and purchase something you really don’t need. Instead of going to the shops regularly and to browse, only go with a well curated list of things that you need. Add to and build your list over time, this will  allow you to reduce your shopping trips and let you buy what you need in one visit. If you can get your shopping done once a week instead of in multiple trips you are going to see the added benefit of time savings, and we can all benefit from that!

7. Wait 24-48 hours minimum before buying anything

To help you resist the urge for mindless consumption it pays to pause before making purchasing decisions. The bigger the purchase the longer you will need to access the decision you are making. Stopping to think before we hand over our cash or cards can help us resist unnecessary purchases that we will regret later. It also allows us time, particularly for larger purchases to check reviews in a relaxed environment, ask friends for product recommendations and to truly think about the item before you part with your cash.

Having time to carefully consider your purchase before exchanging cash will allow you to reduce the number of items you are bringing into our home impulsively and potentially save you thousands each year. When we stop to think we can help reduce mindless consumption. The smallest pause can make a huge difference. Even if you just leave the shop and decide to think about it a bit more before you part with your cash you can always come back to the shop before you leave.

8. Be patient and wait for the right item

Sometimes we can find something close to what we want and by it only to find what we actually wanted soon after. To help avoid this and mindfully consume we need to be patient. Ask yourself what is the ideal item I have in mind for this item I am after? Think about the features you want in it. If it’s a new backpack, maybe you want something that is fold-able, has hidden zippers, a bottle holder, rain cover and is blue. Don’t grab just any bag or the one that is on special. Hold out for the one that you want with the features you need.

I wanted a rose gold necklace and found one that I really liked which was only $4. I was so tempted to put it into my basket but I wasn’t sure if it was what I truly was after. I imagined what necklace I would by without hesitation right now if I saw it and it wasn’t the one I was holding so I put it back. Asking yourself ‘is this something that I will be happy with no matter what other item I found from here’ can help you make the right purchase decision.

9. Declutter your belongings

One of the biggest reasons we are mindless consumers is because we don’t know what we already have. If your wardrobe is overflowing and your drawers are packed full to the point where you struggle to close them it’s highly likely that you probably have forgotten about what you even own. Out of sight out of mind right?

After decluttering over half my belongings, my need to consume reduced drastically. I soon realised what items I bought unneccessarily and what I wouldn’t buy again. I learnt what clothing and shoes I liked and what I didn’t. Decluttering your stuff will show you how little you need to be happy what you can live without. It has the added bonus of ingraining in you how much money you have previously wasted. Every time I sold something for $10 and thought how much money had gone down the drain was a lesson for me to change my old consumer ways! I now know that I don’t need ten pairs of great jeans and that owning three is more than enough and know I never want to revert back to my overflowing chaotic wardrobe of the past. Here’s a list of where to start!

10. Learn to differentiate needs versus wants

The next time you feel the urge to buy yourself something ask yourself is this a need or a want. Learning the difference between the two can be budgetary speaking – life changing. Buying what you want over what you need could mean the difference between a future home filled with endless trinkets and decor pieces, with the stress and time outlay that comes with maintaining your stuff, with a side of sky rocketing consumer debt. Sticking to only buying what you need more often than not can mean achieving freedom from debt much sooner and a life of contentment with only the most valuable items to you.

Maybe instead of buying that lovely aqua vase you can just admire it, accept that it is a lovely piece of decor and acknowledge that you already have a lovely vase at home and there would be better uses for that cash such as saving it rather than buying another decor piece to dust every week. If you ripped your jeans and only have one other pair, then it’s safe to say you probably do need a new pair and you can go out and replace those confident that you are mindfully consuming.

When you adopt a lifestyle of less you will start to appreciate what you do have much more than ever before and feel most content with less as everything you do have will serve a purpose in your life and hopefully bring you joy in some way.

11. Start saving and investing

Some people genuinely don’t have a plan for their earnings and therefore find themselves trying to find more and more things to spend it on. I recently heard a millenial interviewed about housing costs that said that because she couldn’t afford a house there was no point in saving any of her money. I couldn’t believe my ears? Because buying a house seemed  impossible there was no point in saving for anything. When you have no financial goals mindless consuming can quickly become the norm.

When you change your goals from what you want in terms of physical stuff and instant gratification to what your future you want a whole new change of mindset occurs. You will now have a new idea in mind for your hard earned cash. Instead of regularly blowing $200 on an impulse shop you could save or invest that money for the future. Over time watching your savings or investment increase over time will give you an equally awesome, yet guilt-free buzz!

12. Donate and help others

If you have enough cash to hit the shops every single weekend and buy every new gadget as it hits the store shelves, maybe you could consider an equally rewarding use of you cash. Helping others such as donating to charities instead of consuming can give your happiness levels a much longer lasting boost. Consider the joy you feel when buying a new top versus the joy you would feel knowing that you had donated to a worthy cause and changed someone in needs life for the better!

If you have endless time to scourer the mall and aisles, maybe your time could be better utilised volunteering to help others in need. Find a charity that resonates with you and one that you would feel pride helping. Donating our time or money can bring us a much greater sense of purpose and joy.

When we want less, we are able to give more.

13. Say no to debt and buy in cash

There is no greater way to encourage mindful consumption than to pay with purchases in cash. The simple rule is if you don’t have cash then you can’t afford it. Just because after pay is available doesn’t mean it is a good idea. And we all know it is so much harder to pay for something after the thrill of buying it is over.

If you want to truly know if something is worth buying and a mindful purchase, save up for it! Wait whatever time it takes to put that money away for it. Every time you are willing to sacrifice going out for dinner or happy to skip the morning coffee you will know that what you are saving to buy is going to add value to your life and something you are willing to make sacrifices to get.

When you finally buy your item you can truly appreciate it for the hard work you put in and know you can walk away with your new awesome purchase completely debt and repayment free!

14. Borrow or buy things second hand

The next time you are on your way to the shops to buy something ask yourself could I borrow this or buy it second hand? I recently planned to buy an electric sander which was only $80, my thought process was – oh that’s not too expensive, I will just buy it. I then considered whether I could borrow it instead and asked around and managed to borrow one off my step father for free. My last photo shoot I wasn’t sure what to wear and managed to borrow a beautiful dress off my sister in law for the day that cost me nothing! Each of this little changes to buying habits adds up and in time you can return the favour.

Ebay, Gumtree and sites like Craigslist have opened us up to more options for things we need but don’t necessarily need to buy new. By borrowing or buying something second hand we can not only save money, but can help the environment by reusing something rather than having it end up in landfill. Thrift shops are also a great option to find pre-loved items on the cheap.

15. Ignore the catchy sale signs

I used to swoop to those sale racks or tables as quick as anyone else ever did. It’s what frugal people do right, who would pay full price? Maybe so, but it’s only frugal if you are buying something you need, not something just because it is on sale. Often people get caught up in the ‘savings’ and hype of a bargain. If you bought one $50 top and got one free you didn’t save $50 you spent $50. The next time you are at a sale rack ask yourself this:

“If this was full-price would I be willing to buy it”?

If the answer is no, then maybe you are just buying it because it is on sale and you need to reconsider your decision. If your answer is a resounding yes that would show that you have made an informed decision and found the perfect item, ideally an item that you love, that sparked joy and fit perfectly and made you feel great. When you stop buying things just because they are on sale you can start buying what you really want – even if it is full-price – as long as you are sure that it is what you truly want rather than just a spur of the moment decision.

16. Educate yourself on waste and the impact on the environment 

By educating ourselves we can open our eyes to the negatives of our consumer culture and mindless consumption and it’s impact on the environment. ABC’s War on Waste recently reported that Australian’s are disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every ten minutes. Being aware of our environmental impact can help us make better decisions. Sometimes we need that extra nudge to kick us into action and make changes to our consumption behaviour.

When we realise that our purchasing decisions can make an impact on the environment or other people or animals lives that can aid us to make more mindful consumption choices. When we see the level of waste that occurs we might think a little bit more about each purchase. It could be a simple decision to buy more quality, timely pieces that last longer rather then cheaper pieces that end up in landfill in 12 months time or after a season.

17. Learn to value your time

One trap of the consumer culture is that we all seems to lose sight of the value of time. We are all so focused on getting more and more money and more and more stuff and forgetting our most important resource – time. A resource that we can never get back.

Think back to all those hours you spent shopping. Whether it be at the mall or online, or browsing Amazon. Not to mention the time spent in traffic getting to the shop, the time spent waiting in line or to try those clothes on. Think of what you could have done instead with all that time! Was everything you bought last year worth the time you spent earning it? Or even everything you have ever bought? I am certainly no stranger to wasting money on things I didn’t need and that I eventually regretted buying. In order to assess this it can be helpful to calculate our purchases in hours, that is the time taken to earn the money spent as opposed to dollars.

As an example, you earn $20 an hour and want to buy a new handbag for $120. That handbag is also costing you 6 hours. So the total cost is really $120/6 hours. Does this change your decision? In order to mindfully consume we need to take into account the whole picture for each purchase. Not just the cost to our wallet but the time lost. When you take both into account the cost seems a little less ideal – even if it is on sale! This isn’t to say that nothing is worth our money and we should never buy anything and just hoard our money but considering the time cost goes a long way to helping us make more mindful consuming decisions.

What helped you to become a more mindful consumer? What tips to you have to limit impulse purchases that might be helpful to others? Please share your experience and tips 🙂

 

Minimalism

5 Lessons I Learned from my Capsule Wardrobe

When picking your capsule wardrobe aim for comfortable, versatile pieces that you love and you'll never feel the need to go back to a packed closet again

For some time now I have been attempting to adopt a more streamlined, thoughtful and less excessive wardrobe. This June I decided to make it official and adopt a 30 items capsule wardrobe for the June to August winter months. I didn’t want to make it too onerous so I limited the 30 items to clothing, and excluded, jewellery/accessories, underwear, gym and lounge-wear.  

We’re four days into spring and after three months of living my capsule wardrobe I thought I’d reflect on the process of choosing my capsule and what I learned and do a Winter Capsule Wardrobe update!

Here was my breakdown of my Winter Capsule Wardrobe:

Shirts – 9

Long sleeved shirts – 6

Coats, Jackets – 3

Jumpers/Cardis – 2

Pants – 5

Skirts – 1

Scarves – 1

Shoes – 3

Total clothing pieces 30  

WHAT I LEARNT FROM MY CAPSULE WARDROBE

Here are my main take aways from adopting a capsule wardrobe this past season:

1. You need less clothing than you think you do
I’ve previously tried to limit my clothes to a reasonable number but never gone through the process of setting a limit. I was surprised after three months that I managed to stick to a 30 item wardrobe and had 4 items still left untouched over that time (see the backwards hanger method for how I monitored this).

In three months using a capsule wardrobe, I managed to wear only 26 items of the 30. I was really amazed that I didn’t need a huge number of clothing. I never felt like I was too restricted and was wearing the same clothes over and over again. If anything, I felt like I had more variety than ever as I knew everything I had hung up in my wardrobe was wearable, comfortable and that I loved it. The fact that I could easily see everything in my wardrobe and grab it with ease was a bonus! 

2. Think ahead and be selective about what you pick for the season

A couple of weeks into my winter capsule wardrobe I realised I had a few too many cooler shirts in my capsule that just weren’t cutting it in the warmth department. Particularly as my 30 items had to be suitable for working in an office (which is freezing most days, am I right ladies?). So I decided, in order to ensure the success of my capsule wardrobe and my survival of winter (…okay that was a slight exaggeration) to swap in some warmer long-length shirts whilst removing some of the short sleeved tops during the first couple of weeks. I ensured I still stuck to the 30 piece goal I had set myself.

Towards the end of the period I had some more formal events including a bridal shower and wedding which I hadn’t really accounted for in my winter capsule wardrobe as I don’t normally like to wear dresses in winter, so had to expand my wardrobe to include something a bit dressier for those two occasions.

I’d managed to get through 10 weeks with my regular capsule, but realised in the last two that I hadn’t catered for any more formal events in my capsule.

Try and think ahead about what clothing you will need for the three month period. Do you spend your time in an office, or do you work from home? Do you do yoga every day and live in yoga pants or are you in court for work and need something more dressy. Do you go clubbing most weekends or spend them mostly indoors or in the garden. Try and map out what clothing suits your needs and allocate a percentage of the type of clothing you need for different activities in the week. It could be 60% work, 20% loungewear, 10% gym wear, 10% dressier occasions. Pick your outfit ratios according to the relevant percentages for your lifestyle.  

Bonus tip: Note down what you had in your seasons capsule so if you mix and match pieces across the seasons you will know what to grab when that season rolls around again.

3. Having a capsule wardrobe saves you time and stress

Each morning I knew in seconds what I would wear to work or out for dinner that night. Having less clothes in rotation and selecting easy to maintain clothes meant I didn’t have to waste more time than necessary on washing, folding or ironing them.  

A capsule wardrobe also has other time and stress benefits. I wore a dress I have worn a few times to a wedding last week and got many compliments on it. Barely anyone at that wedding had ever seen me in that dress so it would have been silly to feel self-conscious to re-wear it. Had I been afraid to wear a dress more than once I would have had to not only spend unnecessary money on a new one, but would have had additional time and stress trying to find the perfect dress for the wedding.

4. Having a capsule wardrobe helps you to reduce clothing expenditure
Thanks to my capsule wardrobe I felt less of a desire to go clothes shopping as I knew that for the current season I had everything I needed. Every time I thought of buying something new I had to think would I be willing to get rid of something in my capsule for this new item? Pretty much every time the answer was no. I knew I had something I liked more that had been tried, tested and paid for already at home.

The capsule wardrobe also helped me to avoid the shops unless I had something specific in mind that I needed. As I knew that I could only have 30 items in my capsule wardrobe I made sure that any purchases were quality items that I loved, and felt comfortable in and would get a lot of wear out of them. Check out what I did buy below.

5. Your capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be perfect

From this experiment I realised that there was no perfect capsule wardrobe. Through all my efforts of selecting versatile pieces that were comfortable and that I loved, there were still instances where I had to make changes some slight changes. There are no awards for perfection, keep your capsule expectations realistic. 

Whether you have a capsule wardrobe of 30 items or 40 the key is selecting the right number and pieces to suit your lifestyle and needs. At the end of the day any capsule wardrobe is a huge step on the path to more intentional life and will help you reduce the excess in your life. The benefit of this being less stress, less decision making, less spending in your clothing budget or a reduction in your need to shop unintentionally.

 

If you would like to know more about Minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits or a Smaller Home and How  I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism.

WHAT DID I BUY?

One of my goals of having a capsule wardrobe was to reduce my desire to buy more clothes to be content with what I had. I am pleased to say that I achieved this for the most part. Over the past three months I did make a few clothing purchases that I felt were necessary. Although I didn’t avoid buying clothes all together over this period, I was pleased that my clothes shopping became much more intentional and thoughtful. I only replaced or purchased things that I specifically needed and could get a lot of use out of. 

Here is a list of what I bought:

  • 2 Jackets
  • 3 Thermal singlets
  • 2 Thermal long sleeved tops
  • 2 Thermal leggings
  • 2 Pairs of thermal socks
  • 2 Long sleeved shirts
  • 1 Scarf

My criteria for these purchases were:

  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Are they good quality?
  • Do they feel comfortable to wear?
  • Can I get a lot of use out of them?
  • Are there online reviews that recommend this particular item?

I made sure I tried everything on first to check for comfort and fit (except the socks of course :p). My shopping policy is – if I am too lazy to try it on I can’t buy it policy – which also helps me avoid any impulse decisions and saves me having to return anything I buy that doesn’t fit. I try to, where possible, read reviews online, and reviewed travel blogs about what to wear in particular climates and locations as all of the items purchased I would be able to wear during my upcoming Europe trip. A lot of what I bought was on sale and all were quality items.

Most of these items purchased were external to my capsule. I felt that my 30 item capsule other than a few minor additions was more than enough for my needs which helped me to resist making impulse clothing purchases. I look forward to continuing on with my capsule wardrobe and monitoring my clothing purchases over the next few seasons and see how my clothing purchases will be impacted in the long term!   

If you would like to start your own capsule wardrobe check out How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: A Beginners Guide for tips on how to pick and check out my Pinterest board for Capsule Wardrobes for inspiration.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Would love to hear what you have learnt from your experience with having a capsule wardrobe and how many items you feel is ideal in yours. Leave your experience in the comments below 🙂

 

Minimalism

How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe: A Guide For Beginners

Building a capsule wardrobe can be a great way to limit stress in your life. By picking a well-curated selection of 30 items of clothing in your capsule that you love, you can ensure you look stylish, and feel great each day with minimal effort!

A few years back at the beginning of my Minimalism discovery I came across the term Capsule Wardrobe. I’ve never been what you would consider a fashionista. My wardrobe normally consisted of jeans and a hoodie and band shirt. My friend and I used to laugh with our thrifty-ness of making old clothes last beyond their years through any means possible. If there was a way to be fashionable, and coordinate an outfit without much thought going into it, this was going to be a game changer for me.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of research on the subject, okay… a lot of Pinning more specifically. Whenever I talk wardrobes with people and mention the concept of a capsule wardrobe I’m often surprised to hear that most people have never heard of the idea. Which is a something I am hoping to change. Read on for how to create your own capsule wardrobe!

THE BENEFITS OF A CAPSULE WARDROBE

Before we start our capsule wardrobe we must understand the benefits. Here are the benefits I have personally found:

  1. Having  a capsule wardrobe means it is less stressful to get ready. It is one less time consuming decision to make during your day so you can focus on more important or enjoyable things like spending time having your morning coffee.
  2. Having all your clothes in one area makes it easier to mix and match your outfits. A well curated capsule wardrobe means that your outfits easily work together and items that suit your lifestyle which in turn leaves your feeling more confident.
  3. It saves you time on your laundry. If you have a capsule of 30 items, you will probably only have one load of washing per person per week. This avoids the dreaded mountain of unwashed clothing that comes with your average wardrobe!
  4. You can feel comfort knowing that everything in your capsule has been hand picked by you and are items that you love. No more walking out the door only to realise the pants you grabbed don’t fit anymore or are uncomfortable.
  5. It will save you money. When you have 30 or so items that you love you feel less of a need to continually hit the shops trying to find the perfect outfit when you have a perfectly amazing wardrobe at home!
  6. It is better for the environment. Fast fashion has created 6000kg of clothing and textile waste every ten minutes in Australia. By choosing to adopt a capsule wardrobe you are helping to reduce the clothing ending up in landfill by only buying quality, loved clothing pieces and being more mindful of what you buy.
  7. Despite what you may think having a capsule wardrobe is less boring and more creative as each day you get to create a new outfit mix, rather than picking the same old items in your overflowing wardrobe.

Now that we understand the amazing benefits of adopting a capsule wardrobe we can get started!

WHERE DO I START?

Before you make a start on your capsule wardrobe you are going to need to identify what you want in it. This involves going through your current wardrobe and decluttering and only keeping what you love or in Kon Mari’s words what “sparks joy”. These steps will help you get your decluttering started:

  1. Prepare your working area. Make the bed as a clothing work space, grab a few boxes, containers – whatever you have and label them with the following 4 signs; Keep, Toss, Donate, Mend.
  2. Take all your clothing, all of it, and lay them out on the bed. Grab anything in your washing baskets so you can ensure you haven’t missed anything. If you are someone that only has small pockets of time to declutter you can do this by category such as shoes, shirts, dresses and so on until you have gone through each category. This will make the process slower but is better than not doing it at all.
  3. Next pick out the items that you love and wear on a regular basis from your pile. Put the “love” items into the container marked keep. It is often easier to choose what we love than what we don’t so is helpful to start with the ones you know you wear and love first.
  4. Go through your pile and put anything you don’t like, or don’t wear anymore in to two separate piles. One to be donated, any items that are still wearable. One to Toss, for anything else that is not in good condition. If you have the time and energy, you can also put some of the more pricey donate items into a pile to be sold to add some extra cash into your budget.
  5. If there is anything that you love, but that needs repairing put this into a separate ‘mend pile’ and action these in the next week or so. If they need a new button sew it on, if you need to take it to the professionals put them in your car to take to your alteration store.
  6. Continue to work through your pile until you have sorted all items.

If you are left with anything you are unsure about, I call these the “Maybe”pile you can do the following:

  1. If you are not yet ready to part with items in this pile you can place the items in a container to be stored out of your closet for a short period of time. I recommend no more than three months.
  2. Set a reminder on your phone to review the container once the time limit is up. If you find you do want to use something you’ve stored away, you can go and ‘save’ it.
  3. After three months donate the items in the container. Generally after three months you will realise that you don’t miss the items you stored anymore and don’t need them and be willing to let it go.

>> Check out  9 Decluttering Methods For Your Home for extra tips on methods you can use to declutter your wardrobe and home.

After this process you will now be ready to curate a capsule wardrobe from your newly minimised wardrobe.

 

Mix and match your favourite colours in your capsule wardrobe. Picking 3-4 colours can make styling different outfits much easier.
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez

 

CLOTHING TO SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE

It is important to be honest with yourself and what you wear day to day. Are you really going to wear that old bridesmaid dress again? Do you own 5 pairs of short shorts but never wear them? Do you have clothing that needs ironing which you haven’t ironed in six months? This wardrobe is designed for your lifestyle now.

Pick what you love to wear now, what you feel comfortable in and what suits your lifestyle. If you work in an office that might mean more button up blouses, if you are a yoga instructor you might only own one button up blouse and 10 gym outfits. Curate the capsule wardrobe for your present needs.

To make your capsule flow day to day, try and pick a colour theme. Basing your wardrobe around three to four colours is ideal. For example, if your wardrobe is made up of black, white, grey and blue you can mix and match these colours effortlessly. Of course feel free to pick whatever colours you love, it’s your capsule 🙂

CAPSULE WARDROBE RESOURCES

Check out Fashion Youtubers such as Lindsay Albanese for tips on How to Flatter Your Body Issues With Clothes to help you pick the right clothing choices for your capsule or watch Jennifer L. Scott’s Ten Item Wardrobe TEDx Talk for tips on where to start with picking the core items for your capsule wardrobe.

My favourite Capsule Wardrobe blogger Courtney Carver’s Project 333 is a great starting point for your capsule wardrobe. Courtney started blogging about her wardrobe of 33 pieces including accessories and shoes in 2010, in which she picks a capsule wardrobe of 33 items including clothes, shoes and accessories for 3 months and changes them out each new season.

 

Take the Minimise With Me 21+9 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge!

 

MWM 21+9 CAPSULE WARDROBE CHALLENGE

After researching into different capsule wardrobe options, I decided to come up with my own capsule wardrobe challenge. After considering my wardrobe needs I came up with the following:

Two capsule wardrobes that can blend together to fit different areas of your life:

– a 21 item wardrobe for your non-work, everyday life and

– a 9 item wardrobe for work

I don’t wear my work pants or all of my work tops on the weekends, but I do mix and match things like my scarf, some of my tops and coats/jackets so I came up with having a capsule for work and non-work occasions that is still inter-changeable so I can wear pieces for both work and outings but not have my main wardrobe taken up by pieces I only wear to work.

What is excluded: In my capsule wardrobe I exclude pajamas, gym clothes, lounge-wear, swimmers, underwear, singlets or thermals, and accessories.

I feel that buy the time you add in a couple of necklaces, a belt, sunnies, a scarf, a watch and bracelet to your capsule, a lot of your capsule wardrobe limit is taken up so I wanted to be free to mix and match accessories and not focus too much on those limitations within my capsule. By all means don’t go crazy buying 10 belts and 15 pairs of earrings for yours but allows some variety!

The goal is to limit your decision making and stress! My necklace collection is probably larger than others, but as I do wear what I have, I wanted to ensure my capsule didn’t restrict the freedom for me to do that.

What is included: Include all other clothes – pants, tops, dresses, shorts, skirts and so on as well as your shoes.

BUILDING YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

Grab a pen and paper and create a list for your capsule wardrobe. Start with the numbers 1-21 on a piece of paper for your every day wear and 1-9 for your work wardrobe. Create a blend of items from your new wardrobe of ‘loved’ pieces. Pick ones that are suitable for the season you are going to be in for the next three months. An example of my current winter capsule wardrobe is:

Everyday Capsule (21 items)

Shirts – 10
Coat/Jacket/Jumpers – 4
Pants – 3
Skirts/Shorts – 1
Shoes – 2
Scarf – 1

Work Capsule (9 items)

Work pants/skirts – 2
Work shirts – 5
Long cardi – 1
Shoes – 1

Once you have your 30 items hang them up in your wardrobe and box up the remaining items to be reviewed next season. Don’t go and fill your wardrobe with new clothes now that you have more space unless you are missing key pieces or want to swap out items in your capsule.

WHAT IF 30 ITEMS IS JUST TOO LIMITED FOR MY LIFESTYLE

If you find 30 items too difficult to get to, aim for close to that. Go up to 35 or 40 items and see if that can work for you. You might find you don’t need the extra items after all or even if you do, you’ve at least come a long way from where you were previously with a bulging wardrobe.

REVIEWING YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

In order to check what you have and haven’t worn without much thought, use the Backwards Hanger Method. Turn all your coat hangers backwards when you start your capsule wardrobe and put worn items back the regular way when they are washed. At the end of the month you will easily be able to see what you did and did not wear. This will help you to make decisions on what to keep in your capsule for the next season and what to donate.

At the end of the three months, check what you did and didn’t wear and alter your wardrobe accordingly.

KEEPING YOUR WARDROBE MINIMISED

A good rule of thumb to avoid getting carried away and refilling your newly minimised wardrobe is to implement a one, one out rule. This rule requires you to donate one item for every item of clothing you bring into your home. It will help you resist the urge to buy something unnecessary when you have to think about what  you are willing to get rid of in place of it.

For more ideas on building your capsule wardrobe check out my Minimise With Me Building a Capsule Wardrobe board on Pinterest for some inspiration. 🙂

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Let me know how many items you find works for you in the comments 🙂

 

Minimalism

The True Cost of Our Stuff

Often when we shop our main decision basis is one of price. We review the price tags as well as asking ourselves questions like; is it on special? Does it come with something free? Can I get two for one or buy one get one half price? We assume that we are frugal or budget savvy by considering these price points before purchasing. The issue is that this often means that the true cost of a purchase is not considered.

When we only consider these price points in the decision making process for new purchases we forget the most important costs. One of the prime and irreplaceable costs being – our time. One of my favourite quotes is from Minimalist blogger Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist. He says “We don’t buy things with money. We buy them with hours from our lives.” A thought I try to be conscious of this each day.

Before we head out to the shops, or to buy something online – or anywhere, we need to consider a few things. Not just the money spent to make that purchase, but the investment of time involved in owning something. This assessment allows us to truly make wiser purchasing decisions and to consider the true cost of our stuff.

There is much more that needs to be considered than just price alone. Here are 7 other things you should consider when making purchasing decisions to assess the true cost:

  1. Lack of mobility

When you consume excessively your rob yourself of future opportunities. What if a new position came up interstate that would be perfect for you but because you have a huge home filled with stuff you can’t move. What if you find the perfect rental property and you need to be out in a week but miss out because you can’t physically pack up all of your stuff that quickly. What if you need to sell your house whilst the market is booming but you take three months to declutter and pack your stuff and during that period the market drops suddenly and you lose thousands in the lost market price? Having too much stuff can hold you back from decisions that make you happy and add to your life and stop you from being mobile when you need to be.

  1. Environmental Cost of Excessive Consumption

When we consume in excess we increase our impact on the environment. Everything you buy comes with packaging – boxes, plastic, tape, tissue paper, foam and other stuff that will quite possibly end up in landfill. Not to mention the cost on our natural resources. Clothing manufacturing uses vast amounts of water and chemicals. The more we buy, the more our valuable resources are depleted and the more waste we create.

This impact is often not seen by the consumers but born by the wildlife and locals who live in the areas of manufacturing. Check out True Cost on Netflix for a great documentary on the environmental and human cost of our fast fashion industry. 

  1. Opportunity Cost

This is the cost of what you could have done with that money had you not spent it on a new outfit or tech gadget. Instead of buying more stuff you could have invested that cash in yourself such as; by starting your own business, signing up for an educational course, contributing to your retirement, going on a holiday, paying off your mortgage or other debt. All these things have the potential to greatly improve your circumstances.

When people reach the end of their lives the common regret is not wishing they bought more things over there life times, but wishing they would have spent more time with family and friends and traveled more. There would be more time to do in our younger years if we stopped working more and more to buy things we don’t need. Rather than spending our hard earned cash on more stuff, we should consider the true cost – the opportunity costs of spending that money on stuff which could have been redirected to save for our future and retire earlier and have more time to spend with the people we love, doing things we truly enjoy!

  1. Less time for your important relationships.

Whilst you are spending all Saturday morning cleaning your large home you’ve missed out on brunch with a friend, going out with the kids on a road trip, a morning walk with your wife.

The more stuff we have the more time we invest in cleaning it, maintaining, repairing not to mention the other stuff we don’t think of – the time we spend unpacking and setting it up, the time we spend reconciling our accounts each month, filing our receipts, finding a place for the item, washing it, moving it to dust or vacuum. The list goes on.

When buying something new ask yourself what is the true cost of this item? Are you prepared to spend the extra time to look after this item, dust it regularly, iron it weekly, pay for maintenance costs, take it for repairs when necessary and so on.

This goes for buying a house. A house is one of the biggest drains on your time. Consider whether you really need a two story mansion for you family of three or if you would rather spend the time you would have spent cleaning each weekend with your family not to mention the extra work hours needed to cover the larger mortgage.

 

If you like this article you may also be interested in reading “10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Life“.

 

  1. The Cost to Our Health.

The more we spend, the more money we need to bring in to stay ahead and on top of our debt. Maybe you are working 80 hours a week to bring in the big bucks to keep up with your spending. As a result of overworking you get home too tired to spend time with your family or do anything for yourself like exercise or read a book. You begin to live for the weekend with Monday to Friday just being a blur of alarm clocks and falling asleep on the couch.

Not only is your health suffering from lack of time to exercise, cook a nutritional meal and relax after work but you will be carrying around a lot more stress if you are living pay-cheque to pay-cheque. This can soon escalate if you are constantly worrying how you will meet your bills and debt repayments each month. Many people are reaching retirement age saddled with large consumer and mortgage debts without considering the consequences if they suddenly have to retire due to health concerns.

  1. Anxiety and Stress Caused by Excess Clutter

Having lots of stuff adds stress and anxiety into our lives even if we are not aware of it. Clutter makes it difficult to relax physically and mentally and can make it an embarrassing time if unexpected guests rock up. Not to mention the added stress of not being able to find things, having to step over things constantly, pick up things endlessly to tidy up, or seeing cluttered spaces every time you open your drawers or wardrobe. The clutter is always there to remind us. This stress can be reduced by minimising your possessions and limiting what new items you bring into your home. Having space in your home, a sanctuary that you love can do wonders to alleviate stress and anxiety.

  1. Missing Out On Valuable Experiences

When we become so obsessed with buying more and more stuff we often miss out on the important things in life like experiences. How many people do you know that have never been on a holiday but easily spend money on other things without much thought – their nails, a daily coffee, an expensive car, new jewellery or outfit for a party. They constantly say I can’t afford to travel and yet don’t realise that if they were just a bit more intentional with their spending that they too could go on an occasional holiday. Whether it be a local one, interstate or overseas.

It doesn’t even have to be a holiday. Maybe they want to go to a fancy restaurant for their anniversary but can’t afford it. Sometimes we place more value in things that we can see and hold and keep and hold onto for years and years and we forget the importance of creating memories with loved ones. If you just saved $20 a week – just 2.5% of a $50000 annual after tax salary, you would have over $1000 saved with interest to invest in an experience that is important to you. It could be a weekend away, spa day and nice dinner and only takes a very small sacrifice each week.

Have you identified the true cost of stuff in your life? What changes have you made since to your purchasing choices? Share you comments below 🙂

Check out How I Discovered Financial Freedom Through Minimalism for more benefits on focusing less on our stuff and more on what is truly important to us.

Minimalism

How I discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism

What if I told you there was a whole new way to financial stability that you may have not yet heard or considered? You might say something in reply like ‘Well, I’ve tried everything and there is no way I can get ahead’ Or ‘I don’t earn enough to save or have any financial stability’. But don’t fret!

What if I could show you that there was a way to get your finances in order without having to save every cent. Without living miserably whilst trying to keep your head afloat financially. Hoping that one day you would land a better paying job or win the lotto and your financial problems would be solved. A lifestyle where you could buy that expensive insert quality material possession you’ve wanted guilt free with a bit of forethought.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across the term Minimalism by accident. It was during my lunch time Pinterest scroll where a few Pins came across my feed. I’d never really heard of ‘Minimalism’ before and wanted to learn more. I started to read the first post I came across. Then another and another. I became infatuated with the idea of living a more intentional life, reducing the excess to focus on the essential. Not long after I was reading and watching everything I could about the Minimalist lifestyle. What I didn’t realise at the time was how much this would have a positive effect on my financial stability.

Fast forward a couple of years to the present as I am typing this article. Minimalism has allowed me to change my whole relationship with money. I’ve always considered myself a frugal person that budgeted and saved and was keen to stay out of debt as much as possible. Those are all great financial habits and helpful to get to a point of financial stability, but I now see the missing piece of the puzzle. Through Minimalism, I have developed a more intentional approach to my finances and even more foresight for my financial future than ever before.

In the past most of my financial decisions were based on a price basis. I’d ask myself questions like – Was what I was buying a good price? Was is it on sale? Good questions by all means but they weren’t getting to the heart of the spending issue. Minimalism has opened my thought process up to a whole new dimension of financial decision making.

Instead of being focused just on price, I now consider other aspects of the purchase. These include asking myself questions before spending my money such as; is this the best use of my money? Could something I already have do the same job? Could I borrow this from a friend or family member if I only need to use it for a short amount of time? Is this something that will last me and be a quality product? Could my money be better utilised elsewhere?

The Minimalists define Minimalism as a tool that allows you to make decisions more consciously, more deliberately. To live a minimalist life to me, means living within your means and living more intentionally, getting off auto-pilot and reassessing your daily interactions and decisions. This I believe, is the key to financial stability. It doesn’t matter if you are earning a six figure salary and are spending more than six figures or only on a small wage. Minimalism can be used to help people on any income at any point on their financial journey.

I have found Minimalism a great tool in many areas of my life and one that can greatly add to your financial health. Here is How I discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism.

  1. I trust myself to plan for the future.

I know that I will, through everyday actions, be thinking of ‘future me’ and how I can ensure ‘future me’ is not left behind at the expense of ‘today me’. This gives me confidence to know that my financial future will be one of stability as I have plans in place in order to prepare for any financial emergencies that may present themselves unexpectedly.

  1. I consider the bigger picture in decision making.

Minimalism has taught me to consider each purchase and take pause. Every purchase is well thought out and intentional. If I’m in kmart it’s because I’ve already made a list of what I need or want, where I am buying it and asked why I am buying it, and where it’ll be stored in my home. The temptation to impulse buy is reduced when you have to stop and think about your purchase decisions more thoroughly. The less I am buying on impulse, the less I will have to deal with buyers remorse and the shopping hangover that comes after a shopping binge.

  1. I no longer feel the need to impress or keep up with others.

Minimalism has taught me to appreciate what I do have and shown me that I don’t need to make decisions to impress others. Being more aware of what truly makes me happy gives me financial stability and the financial freedom to make decisions for the right reasons, not to impress others.

Not everyone has the same financial circumstances and bank account balance as you. No one knows what everyone’s personal financials are and we shouldn’t be blindly trying to keep up at the expense of our own financial stability. If you want something and can afford it, that’s great, but don’t do it because of some need to impress others.

  1. You’re more aware of your needs vs wants.

We bought our first home in our mid 20s, assuming at some point in the future we’d need to upsize when our one garage home with small rooms and one bathroom started feeling claustrophobic. Since discovering minimalism, instead of upsizing to a larger home, we donated, sold and cleared over half our our possessions.

Rather than getting a bigger home (and mortgage to go with it) we’ve stuck with our humble abode that is the perfect size for us. Sure, it might be nice to have some extra space and a more modern home, who doesn’t want that?! But we would rather have a smaller mortgage we can comfortably afford to pay.  And even better, being able to afford additional payments means we can be debt free earlier and that is more important to us.

  1. Seeing the importance of planning for unexpected financial disasters.

Before I discovered minimalism I maintained a small emergency fund and always made sure that if the car broke down or the hot water system blew we wouldn’t be stuck. There was some foresight to tackle any small potential disasters. But it was through discovering minimalism that I discovered a whole new level of financial stability.

I learnt how important it was to forgo temporary joy in the present for my future financial stability. This includes saving up three to six months of expenses to prepare for even bigger hiccups such as the possibility of a job loss. Having a goal to get an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses is no easy feat, but certainly adds a level of financial security.

If you were to lose your job tomorrow with a few months of pay stashed away, it would still be an unexpected development but one that you were prepared for. This emergency fund could give you the time to find a new job without worrying how you will pay your bills or put food on the table.

  1. I value my time and money more

Minimalism has taught me to value my time and money more and that means finding ways to spend my hard earned cash more efficiently. Like looking for new ways to decrease my expenditure and therefore hours required to earn that money, without necessarily decreasing my spending. Spending time to find discounts on bills such as insurance, registration, utilities, and phone bills which can add up quickly in your budget and often only require a quick call or online quote.

I save time by automating my saving transfers and ensure my money is transferred to a separate savings account before I am even tempted to spend it.

Each small investment of my time to reduce expenses not only decreases the time I need to spend working to earn that money, but also better manage my money so it can be better utilised and contributing to my financial stability.

  1. Minimalism frees up time which can in turn increase your savings.

In addition to the above point, one of the biggest benefits of minimalism is finding more free time and using it more efficiently. When you spend less time organising, cleaning, maintaining stuff and less time shopping for things you don’t need, you open up time to dedicate to more value adding activities.

This could include freeing up time you might have spend at the mall that you can now dedicate to reviewing your budget and analysing your expenditure to check in with your finance goals and to be more in control of your finances.

It can also free up time that might otherwise have been wasted. This could allow you to take up a side hustle to bring in extra income to further contribute to your financial stability.

  1. My debt appetite has been re-routed.

Minimalism has helped me to become more aware of how intrinsic debt is in our society. People will pay out their car loan and not long after they are going out to buy another car with another hefty loan. They are so accustomed to having a debt repayment they haven’t even considered what else they could be doing with their money if they were just willing to hold onto a slightly older vehicle. I am now even more unwilling to go into debt than ever before and focused on reducing my current debt as quickly as possible.

Having less credit card debt, or any other kind frees up your cash to invest in your savings account and allows you more financial freedom to plan for the future. If we don’t have cash for something we don’t buy it. Our emergency fund also helps ensure we never have to rely on a credit card for unexpected costs.  

  1. Minimalism encourages living within your means.

If you are not living within your means, your income is less than your expenses and you are going to end up going into debt to fund your lifestyle. Minimalism has shown me that it is possible to save and have financial stability despite the level of income, if I choose to live within my means.

Just because you earn six figures doesn’t give you the ability to be financially naïve and ignore your incomings and outgoings. Nor does it mean someone on $40000 can’t have a savings balance. By working out your income and expenses for the pay period and planning your budget, you can ensure that you aren’t spending more than you earn.

  1. Always asking is this the best use of my money?

Minimalism has taught me the importance of re-evaluating where my money is spent and asking whether that is the best use of my savings and income. It has shown me the importance of acting in the best interest of my goals.

Maybe you want to go on a trip to Europe next year but your friends want to go on regular shopping days. Or your friends asked you to go out for an expensive night of bar hopping that is going to blow your entire weeks spending budget. Minimalism reinforces how important it is to make intentional decisions each day to reach your goals.

Being more intentional about how I spend my money has helped me reach financial stability. Don’t be afraid to say no to an event or suggest alternate budget-friendly plans if something is going to put you in a financial pickle. Being open honest with friends and family can make this easier. If they understand your goals and why you are savings I’m sure they will be happy to make more budget friendly plans that can involve you.

Have you discovered financial stability through Minimalism? Please comment below and share your experiences!

If you loved this you may also enjoy reading 10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Lifestyle.

Organising

How An Organised Space Can Save You Money

I’ve always been a bit of a frugal-er, trying to limit waste and unnecessary spending where I could and had a desire to get more organised. After living out of home for five years, I realised we’d developed some bad habits.

We were binning massive amounts of spoiled food each week. Most of it fresh food we’d bought with good intentions but just hadn’t gotten around to eating. Finding stuff in the pantry was a difficult process with random cans thrown in sporadically and no real organisation system. We’d go shopping list-less and come home with five cans of corn only to realise we already had eight in the pantry.

We were constantly leaving things to the last minute. Often realising we’d forgotten to buy a birthday present, we’d rush around hoping we could find something the day of the party in sheer craziness. Cleaning was an ordeal having to try and vacuum around whatever clothes and furniture items we had on the floor.

I was sick of the disorganisation and having unnecessary stress in our lives. After being overwhelmed by clutter, and the anxiety and stress it caused me I set out to change my home environment. I wanted to have a more calming space – I didn’t want to see mess everywhere and trip over things.

Once starting the decluttering process of my home I realised there was an added benefit to having an organised space. It was aiding our budgeting and helping us to save more money. Here is How an Organised Space Can Save You Money and how it has benefited us.

1. Save on groceries and buying duplicates.

Since organising our home we can now see what we have at a glance. In the pantry, all cans are lined up, long-life milk, snacks are in the one place which makes creating our shopping list that much easier. Our fridge is no longer filled to capacity as we only buy what we will need for the week ahead. This means we can reduce the food we are wasting each week and save on our grocery bill. Having an organised space allows us to avoid bringing home multiples of an item we already have, whether that be groceries or things we misplace or have just forgotten we have.

2. Reduce your clothing budget.

Organising your wardrobe is a huge game changer in terms of spending. Before I discovered the amazement of being organised I used to have my wardrobe and drawers overflowing with clothes. Each wash day I’d shove a new pile in, on top of the stuff that had just become accustomed to staying at the bottom of the drawer. I remember the first time I decided to declutter my wardrobe, I found three pairs of black shorts. I’m not sure how many pairs of black shorts anyone needs, but the fact that I had three that I had not only not worn in years, but didn’t even know I had them was quite eye-opening to me.

From that moment I realised how important it is to keep what you have organised and to regularly assess what you have so you know what items you own. In the past I would just buy new clothes, chuck them in a drawer or in my wardrobe with the intention of wearing them and often completely forgot I had ever bought them. I’d never really taken stock of what clothing I owned. Now when I go shopping I know at least 99% of my wardrobe off the top of my head. I know what shoes I have to mix and match with outfits and can better select what I am bringing into my wardrobe.

3. You’re more content living in a smaller home.

Since organising our home the feeling of claustrophobia has diminished. I no longer feel like our house is too small and that we need more space. I’m rarely tempted to look at larger homes to buy. Even if it springs to mind when I see a nice photo of a home, I remember how much I love cleaning a smaller home and how I would never want the additional hours of work to pay for one and lost hours keeping up with the maintenance that comes with a bigger home. After decluttering all areas of our home we’ve actually managed to free up some storage space and are in no rush to fill them back up.

4. Planning ahead is easier and you can avoid impulse purchases.  

About two years ago I started using a diary to get more organised. After about a year I switched to a Bullet Journal and was instantly impressed by the simplicity it brought to my life. By being more organised and writing in my bullet journal I am able to save money in numerous ways. Whether it be planning ahead for dinner so I can avoid buying take out that night. Making a note to buy a gift for someone a month ahead instead of running around the day before in a rush and blowing the gift budget. Or making a note to compare prices on a new purchase in order to get the best price and save money.  

5. You’ll become more intentional with purchases.

Now that we have decluttered our home we are very keen to keep it from getting out of hand again. This impacts my day-to-day activities and spending. I no longer walk into shops aimlessly to pass time or find some kind of satisfaction from buying something new.

Before I buy anything now, it has to hold up to a range of requirements. I will ask myself questions such as do I really need this? Do I have a place for it? Is it something I will be willing to dust from now until when I get rid of it? Most of the time the answer is no and I walk away from it.

When you start making more conscious decisions with what you are purchasing on a daily basis you develop new habits and soon enough the desire to buy lessens and your desire for a calm, organised space keeps you from reverting back to old habits.

6. Save money not having to replace lost items.

Have you ever gone to look for something and not been able to locate it? I am pretty sure we have all been here. You think to yourself, maybe I never had it or gave it away? You go out to replace the items. Sometimes the original turns up and you feel a little silly but even after turning the house upside down at the time you couldn’t find it! This is another way an organised space can save you money. By having organisational systems in place you can avoid losing things in your home and replacing them. Even more importantly this wastes another important resource, your time. Imagine all the more important things you could be doing with the time wasted looking for lost items.

7. You can sell your unwanted stuff online. 

Another way an organised space can save you money is as you organise you will truly realise how much excess you have in your home. After a while we begin to grow used to seeing our stuff and don’t realise how much of it there is.

Have you ever walked into someones house and felt claustrophobic from all the stuff?! You’ve probably not even noticed your house might be heading in the same direction. It’s not until you start questioning what you do and don’t use that you realise you could live without some of the stuff cluttering up your home.

The great thing about decluttering is that your unwanted items can be useful to other people and that can help you claw back some of the money spent on excess items you have in your home. You will never get all of your money back, and sometimes you won’t get any of it but it is possible to sell your clutter and add to your savings account.

It is truly amazing how much you can get for old electronics, gaming consoles, clothes, camera gear, books or whatever other junk you might have in your to go pile. If you’re reluctant to give something away because you spent a lot of money on it, sometimes knowing that you can get a little bit back from it by selling it makes the letting go process a little easier.

Alternatively, if you don’t need the money or don’t have the time, donate unwanted items to a local charity. Think of all the times you’ve found something you love in an op-shop for a few dollars because someone was generous enough to donate it. Pay it forward! 

8. Being organised saves you time and stress.

When you plan ahead and get organised you can save one of your most precious resources – time! Imagine all the things you could do with your spare time if it wasn’t spent doing mountains of laundry each week! No looking for lost items or spending half an hour clearing out food in your fridge that has gone bad. As they say, time is money and an organised space can save you both! When you no longer have to live with the consequences of an unorganised space, you’ll have more time to spend on more enjoyable things.

How have you found an organised space has saved you money? Comment below with your experience!

  

Organising

9 Top Decluttering Methods for Your Home

A couple of years ago I was frustrated with the amount of stuff that had accumulated in my humble sized home. Every cupboard, drawer, shelf, counter top was filled with stuff and added stress to every day life. Trying to cook dinner was a chore with piles of stuff on our small kitchen island that was hard enough to prepare meals with. It was a fight every time I tried to open a cupboard to get a set of sheets or towel out. Getting dressed often involved pulling out endless clothes only to realise that nothing went together, no longer fit, or had a button missing.

I knew something had to change and so I set out decluttering every area of my home that I could think of. Not a single drawer, shelf or cupboard was safe. It was a slow process I carried out in my spare time day to day over a period of 2 years. Lucky for me I found it therapeutic and it became something I am really passionate.

That isn’t the case for everyone. Some people find the process tiresome and tedious and may just not have the time to dedicate to it. Since starting my decluttering journey, I have researched many methods to get your clutter under control that will hopefully speed up the process and give you a helping hand with where and how to start. Here are 9 Top Decluttering Methods to Declutter Your Home that I believe on their own or in unison, can help you get on your way to a more decluttered home.

 

METHODS TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME

1. Konmari organising by category.

The Konmari method of decluttering is based on identifying what you want to keep, rather than what to get rid of. The decision on whether to keep each item is decided by asking if the item sparks joy. If the answer is yes, it goes in the keep pile. If no, it goes in the donate or trash pile.

The approach to this method is to declutter by one category at a time, rather than location. If you have books in different rooms, you are to move all of them into one location and sort all of them at once. This allows you to see the vast amount of stuff you have of one category and helps you to avoid keeping multiples of things you might not have known you had, if they were kept in separate locations.

Take clothes for example, if you have some in your drawers, cupboard in the hall closet and have some in the laundry you may not realise how many clothes you really have until they are piled up on your bed in a clothing mountain.

Konmari sets out the order for decluttering which is based on perfecting your decluttering skills before you move onto the harder items like sentimental items. She suggest the order of clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous household items like valuables, craft supplies, stuff for hobbies, office supplies, electronics and kitchen items) and finally, sentimental items.

Pros: This decluttering method focuses on identifying what you love rather than what you don’t. Over time it allows you to be more aware of what you do love and what you don’t. It also encourages us to be thankful for what we do have and appreciate our things as we say thank you to each donated item. Part of decluttering is to learn to be grateful for what we do have and to realise that when we have more of what we love we are more content with less.

Cons: Taking every item from one category such as clothing can be extremely time consuming and overwhelming. Best to be done one a day where you have a few spare hours as it is not something that can be done in a small amount of time. This method also can make it harder to let your stuff go if you find yourself saying everything sparks joy. 

 

2. Four Box Method – relocate, donate, trash, sell 

The four box decluttering method allows you to make quick decisions and tackle small areas to declutter. Start with grabbing four boxes, containers, washing baskets or whatever you have on hand and labelling them with relocate, donate, trash and sell. As you move through each area make a decision for each piece in the area you are decluttering and place it into the appropriate box.

This decluttering method can be flexible to sort through a whole room or a small area and can be used for quick decluttering or bigger time slots. Anything you decide to keep can stay in the same location.

Relocate: Anything that doesn’t belong in the space you are decluttering, that you plan to keep goes into the relocate box. Once it is full you can start to put these items back where they belong.

Donate: These are any items that you no longer want or need, that are in good condition and could be used by other people. When the box is full put it in your boot and drop it off at your local charity bin or shop.

Sell: This container is for any items of value that you no longer want, but that you could sell on ebay, facebook or local buy, swap sell sites. I would recommend setting a $20 limit, if you can’t sell any items for more than $20 it is probably not going to be worth the time and effort to list it and deal with shipping it or arranging a pick up. If you are in need of cash and have the time by all means set a lower limit.

Trash: This is for any items you no longer or want that are damaged, unsaleable or not in good condition to donate. Sometimes it is best to split this into two containers one for trash and one for recyclables. Just bring your regular recycling bin into the room ready for any reccling. Do your bit for the environment and dispose of each item as thoughtfully as possible. If it can be donated, recycled or sold take that option and limit what ends up in landfill. 

Pros: This decluttering method helps you to easily keep track of each item and where it should go and makes it easier to move those items to the appropriate location whether that be another room or the bin. It gives you 4 options to help limit any overwhelm from decision making. Also saves you time being able to grab a box such as trash and take it to the bin all at one. 

Cons: This decluttering method doesn’t really give you any guidelines on where to start like the Konmari method. Sometimes having the decision based on what to keep, rather than what to get rid of makes for easier decision making on what to keep or dispose of.

 

3. The Minimalists Packing Party

The Packing Party is a game established by the Minimalists Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn for people who don’t want to take a year to declutter their stuff and want fast results. The idea is that you box up all of your possessions and only take out each item as you need them to decide what you do use and what you don’t.

As you need towels, plates, clothes, shoes and other items take them out of the box. After 21 days see what you didn’t touch and make a decision on what’s left as to whether it stays or goes. If there is anything not out of the boxes consider whether it truly adds value to your life and consider selling, donating, giving it away or trashing it.  

Pros: Great method if you don’t want to spend months decluttering or a year. Allows you to declutter your home quickly and see what you do and don’t use on a regular basis. 

Cons: This can seem like a pretty extreme, messy decluttering method. It may save time decluttering and speed up the process, but packing up all of your stuff is going to take a significant amount of time in itself.

Minimise With Me’s Tip: If packing up your entire house seems daunting, unnecessary or impossible, try packing up one area at a time. Your towels, make-up, wardrobe, your kitchen utensils, plates and cups. After 2 weeks assess what you didn’t need from each area and declutter accordingly.  

 

4. The Minimalists Mins Game

The Mins Game is a game developed by the minimalists to make decluttering a little more fun and to ease you into the process. Start off on day one decluttering one item. Day two declutter two items. Day three, three items and so on until you get to day 30 where you declutter 30 items. Over the space of 30 days you will have decluttered a total of 465 items.

A great game to start off a new month and keep you on your toes. To keep you motivated and keep track of your progress you can post your photos with #minsgame to look back on your decluttering journey and see others progress to help motivate you.

Pros: Builds momentum, starting small with one items and gradually increasing the number. Great way to motivate you to declutter a large number of items in a small space of time.

Cons: It can be frustrating initially to only declutter one item. Not extremely flexible in terms of time as you need to have more and more time to declutter as the month progresses which may not suit your schedule.

 

5. The Minimalists 90/90 rule

The 90/90 rule is one that you can use to look forward in time and backwards to make a decision on what to keep. It can be applied to your wardrobe or whatever else you like by simply asking have I used this in the last 90 days and do I see myself using it in the next 90 days.

If there is something you have been holding onto ‘just in case’, ask yourself have I used this in the past three months and would I use it again in the next three months? Writing a list of these items can help keep track of what things you are considering. 

Over the next three months be mindful of the item. If you have a use for it, you’re most likely going to use the item over that time frame. If at the end of that six month assessment period you still are yet to use an item and it isn’t something seasonal, consider if it is something you truly need.

The 20/20 rule below can help you make this decision.

 Pros: This can speed up the decluttering process by allowing you to consider the past three months in your decision (six months in today) rather than only looking ahead like the backwards hanger method.     

Cons: This decluttering method doesn’t take into account that some items are things that you want to keep but might only use for a small period of the year such as seasonal items like ski equipment. For these items it is probably best to stretch the assessment period to looking back six months and forward six months as opposed to three. 

 

6. The Minimalists 20/20 Just in Case Rule:

The 20/20 Just in Case rule is a helpful tool to allow you to let go of items that you aren’t sure you’ll need but keep thinking – what if I need it one day? This rule can be used in conjunction with the 90/90 rule and sets out that if you don’t need something but feel like you should hang onto it just in case you need it one day, consider whether you can replace that item within 20 minutes for less than $20. If that is the case, let it go.

You’ll often find that 99% of the time, what you have donated or sold won’t be missed. If there is that one item that you ended up needing you can easily go and reacquire it without having it take up valuable storage space in your home when you are not using it and at $20 it won’t blow you budget. 

Pros: Helps in letting go some those just in case items you’re reluctant to get rid of.

Cons: You may have a handful of items that you dispose of that you have to repurchase at a later date. By being honest with whether you need something, this will be kept to a minimum. 

 

METHODS TO DECLUTTER YOUR WARDROBE

7. The Backwards Hanger Method

This decluttering method is used to downsize your wardrobe and assess what you do and don’t wear. Simply take all the clothes on your hangers and turn them backwards so the coat hanger hook is facing towards you. As you wear each piece and wash it return it to the wardrobe facing forward.

Set a note on your calendar for three, six or twelve months, whatever you prefer, to remind you to review what you have and haven’t worn in that time. Whatever is still facing backwards at the end of the calendar period is what hasn’t been worn and can probably be donated or sold.

Keep in mind that some items like coats, will not be worn for 3-6 months across the summer months so it is probably best to seperate your clothes by season and only include the clothes you will wear that season for review.

Pros: Takes the difficulty out of decluttering your wardrobe. Just set a reminder on your phone and have a reassessment at a later date. Allows you to ‘save’ clothes that you might have put off wearing and will encourage to wear your favourite item more. 

Cons: It is only useful for clothing and for items that you have hung up. If you don’t have much hanging space it won’t allow you to declutter much of your wardrobe. 

 

8. Courtney Carver’s Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe

Courtney Carver’s Project 333 is a capsule wardrobe challenge to only wear 33 items. It includes clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes over a three month period. It excludes sentimental jewellery that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing.

Once you have picked 33 items that you love and that can be mixed and matched, box up the remainder of your wardrobe, seal it with tape and put it out of sight. This capsule wardrobe is created every three months in order to tailor a wardrobe for each season of the year.

Pros: Takes the stress out of getting dressed every day included trying to open your drawers. Everything in your wardrobe is something that you love wearing so you won’t have to stand at your wardrobe each morning looking through clothes you don’t like or wear. Help you to get to know what clothing you enjoy wearing and what suits you so you can reduce buying clothes that end up unworn.

Cons: Paring down to 33 items for 3 month is definitely a challenge. If you can’t do 33 items, set a reasonable limit – 40 or 50 and see if you can manage that and try and pair it down with your next three month wardrobe. It is meant to help you streamline your wardrobe not torture you.

 

9. Minimise With Me’s Drawer Rotation Method 

After all my research on decluttering methods, I haven’t really found any decluttering method that catered to clothing that was not hung up- but folded in drawers. I wouldn’t have been able to hang up all my clothes in my wardrobe due to the space limits. I also wanted to avoid going out and buying more coat hangers or special hangers to hold up singlets, shorts and the like, temporarily.

I wanted a decluttering method that would allow me to assess what clothes I did and didn’t use, like the backwards hanger method for the clothing hung up in my wardrobe, but for the clothing I kept in my drawers.

I came up with the Drawer Rotation Method which is a system I use, along with the Konmari Folding Technique, where you put your clean, folded washing to the back of your drawers – rather than in front.

This encourages you to wear all the items in your drawers, not just the items that you regularly wear and put back to the front, leaving the back items to sit for weeks or even months unworn and potentially forgotten, cluttering up your drawers.

This Drawer Rotation Method has helped me to keep an even rotation of the clothes I wear that are folded in drawers. It also helps to identify what you do and don’t wear. After a while that old shirt that you hate wearing will be sitting at the front of your drawer as a constant reminder of how it might be time to donate or trash it.

Pros: Helps you to assess which clothes in your drawers you wear more frequently over a period of time and which ones you can declutter.

Cons: Only works if you use the Konmari folding technique where clothes as stacked horizontally in parcels, rather than in vertical, less-visible piles.

 

Have you tried any of the above methods? Did you find them helpful? Have you come across any others that have helped you? Please comment below with what has helped you declutter your home!

Minimalism

101 Things to Declutter in Your Home Right Now!

It can be hard to know where to start when decluttering. There are so many rooms and areas you could begin with and it can seem overwhelming when starting out. When we are so focused on bringing new things into our home we can forget the importance of removing the items that are no longer useful to us and could be taking up valuable space in our home.

Do you open your kitchen utensil drawer only to become flustered trying to find the one thing you actually need? Have you accumulated twenty mugs in the cups cupboard and seem to forever have endless ones to wash? Is your linen closet overflowing so closing it is a struggle and you often end up shoving the clean stuff in closing the door and just think to yourself I will deal with this later? Downsizing our excess stuff can allow us to reduce stress in our lives and make some of our chores less bothersome. We are limited to the space we have in our homes so if your cupboards and shelves are overflowing with stuff if might be time to start clearing some of it out.

Here is a list of 101 things to declutter in your home right now that will give you a place to start your decluttering journey by area and hopefully a new leaf to a less cluttered, more simplified life.

Kitchen
1. Duplicate utensils.
2. Excess kitchen knives
3. Excess cleaning supplies. Use up what you have before buying any new ones.
4. Cutlery. Limit it to a reasonable number for your regular needs.
5. Plates. How many plates do you need? Limit to 2 per person per type as a guide.
6. Cups and mugs. Empty out that cupboard filled with overflowing cups piled on top of each other and only keep your favourites.
7. Bake-ware. Ask yourself how often do you bake and if you really need everything you have.
8. Single purpose appliances such as doughnut makers, popcorn makers etc. Keep only the items you use regularly.
9. Restaurant menus. These can all be located online put them into the recycling.
10. Excess vases.
11. Pots and Pans.
12. Tupperware with missing lids.
13. Expired medicine.
14. Unwanted cookbooks.

Fridge/Freezer 
15. Expired condiments in your fridge.
16. Uneaten leftovers.
17. Unwanted drinks.
18. Frozen meats with freezer burn.
19. Food that you don’t plan on eating due to change of diet etc.

Pantry
20. Expired food in your pantry.
21. Unwanted alcohol.
22. Expired spices or any you don’t use.
23. Any food you don’t plan on eating.

Bathroom
24. Shampoos and conditioners. Avoid buying seperate ones for each person unless necessary. Try and stick to the same brand so you don’t end up with multiple bottles going unused cluttering up your cupboard.
25. Old or unused Makeup. What makeup do you currently use, is there something you haven’t touched in the past year? Do you have ten different eye shadow pallets when a few would be enough? Make up has a limited shelf life and should be used up in 1-2 years for most products. See this link for details on expiration dates of makeup.
26. Beauty products. Limit beauty products to what you need and avoid buying more until you’ve used up what you have.
27. Lotions and leave in conditioners. If you don’t plan to use it give it to someone who will or bin it.
28. Decor. Remove excess decor from the bathroom and counter tops. The less you have the less you have to move when cleaning. Have a few nice decorative pieces and clear the rest.
29. Hair accessories keep only what your use regularly.
30. Old razors.

Manchester 
31. Towels, face washers and hand towels – Keep two towels per person for your home. Hang it up after use and wash the ones in the hamper regularly. Think of the time you’ll save on laundry when you only have 8 towels instead of 16?! These can be donated to animal shelters.
32. Quilt covers. How many quilt covers do you have? Assess what ones you still love and donate the rest. Ideally you need one to use and one spare for when the other one is in the wash.
33. Blankets. Limit blankets to two sets per bed.
34. Pillows. Keep the number of pillows required for your bed and bin the rest.
35. Bath mats. I’m certainly one that finds it hard to resist the allure of a new soft bath mat. Stick to 2-3 on rotation and donate the others to an animal shelter.
36. Spare curtains that are no longer in fashion or have been sitting in the linen closet for years.

Bedroom
37. Perfumes or fragrances you don’t like. Old unwanted perfumes or colognes can be binned or donated to friends or family. I’ve sold a few on eBay as well so that’s always an option to make some extra cash.
38. Bedroom decor you no longer love.
39. The stuff under your bed. It is a lot easier to clean your bedroom when there is nothing under the bed.
40. The bedroom TV. Do you really need that eyesore in your bedroom sanctuary?
41. Books on your night stand that you aren’t currently reading. Keep one or two on your bedside table and put the rest back on the bookshelf.
42. Anything that doesn’t belong in your bedroom (for us more often than not it’s guitars :p).

Wardrobe
43. Shoes that you don’t enjoy wearing.
44. Worn belts.
45. Ties that you no longer like.
46. Handbags that are no longer your style or worn.
47. Jewellery/Accessories that you no longer like or wear.
48. Clothing that you haven’t worn in the past 6-12 months. Use the backwards hanger method to establish what you do and don’t wear.
49. Socks that are missing a pair or have holes in them.
50. Underwear that is uncomfortable or has seen better days.
51. Old pyjamas that have had their time.

Laundry
52. Reduce your wardrobe. This will mean you reduce your washing by default and limit the laundry piles to manageable amounts.
53. Excess laundry baskets or hampers (once your laundry is reduced).
54. That random stuff that you find in pockets. Have a catch all container or box to collate items found in pockets. Empty this regularly.
55. Cleaning supplies you no longer need.
56. Laundry products you tried and didn’t use again.

Kids play rooms/bedrooms
57. Books. Donate unwanted books to schools, childcare centers or the library.
58. Unwanted Toys. Sell toys in good condition on eBay or donate to local charities.
59. Stuffed Animals.
60. Games or puzzles with missing pieces.
61. Kids art. To make room for new artworks to be displayed scan the image or take a photo of it and create into scrapbooks or store them digitally.
62. Old unwanted electronic games.
63. Dried out texters and pens.

Garage/Shed 
64. Old paint cans or other chemicals you no longer need.
65. Car oil or parts for cars you no longer have.
66. Cardboard boxes that have past their warranty period.
67. Any broken gardening tools that you haven’t got around to fixing.
68. Old tiles if you are renovating and no longer need them.
69. Scrap building supplies you won’t need.

Living Areas 
70. Excess decor cluttering up your living spaces.
71. Excess furniture that is being unused.
72. Extra lounges when they are mostly empty.
73. Artwork or photos you no longer love.
74. Excess or drab cushions.
75. Rugs that don’t go with your colour scheme.
76. Excessive photo frames. Keep a few on display but don’t go overboard.

Entertainment/Media 
77. CD’s you no longer listen to.
78. DVD’s you won’t watch again.
79. VHS’s.
80. Excess TVs.
81. Unused Gaming Consoles.
82. Games you haven’t played since finishing.
83. Old mobile phones and phone chargers. These can be dropped off at local library or Mobile Muster collection points. See this link for your local recycling options.
84. Old cameras.
85. Your DVD or VCR if you don’t use them.
86. Old laptops you no longer use.

Sentimental Items 
87. Old cards. Scan them and save them digitally.
88. Bad quality or blurry photos or people that you no longer want in your life.
89. Other photos taking up space in large bulky photo albums. Consider making your prints into a photo book or displaying them in a digital photo frame and backing them up digitally.
90. Sentimental items that you have no connection to. Take a photo of the item if that makes it easier to let go.
91. Jewellery you don’t love. Find someone in your family who will love it or get is melted down into something special.

Home Office/Paper
92. Books you no longer read or reference.
93. Magazines. Cut out what you need and put them in a folder and recycle the rest.
94. Old bank or credit card statements. These can all be accessed online.
95. Utility bills. Get these emailed to you and reduce some of the paper coming into your home each month.
96. Old receipts. Scan them as they come in on your phone and recycle them or keep them in one file.
97. Excess notebooks/pads. Keep a few or put them in areas where they will be useful like your handbag or car.
98. Stationery from your uni days that you no longer need.
99. Your printer (if you don’t use it).
100. Excess pens. Test what works and bin the rest or any you don’t like using.
101. Manuals for electrical goods.

What things have your decluttered in your home? Please leave a comment below!

Minimalism

10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Life

After discovering the minimalist lifestyle a couple of years ago I was keen to learn everything I could about this concept. After reading everything I could possibly find on the subject I started making small gradual changes and found very quickly that this was having a positive effect on many areas of my life. By reflecting on what my experiences were on this minimalism path I hoped it might help and inspire others to discover the benefits of living a more intentional life. There are no set rules for minimalism, it is different for everyone and is useful a tool to create a life that brings you happiness. Here are 10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Life that I have found over my journey.

  1. Less stress.

A minimalist inspired lifestyle has helped me to feel the least stressed I have felt in a long time. It empowers you to be more comfortable saying no to things that take you away from your goals and yes to things that bring you closer. It will allow you to reassess the relationships in your life, which could entail leaving a bad relationship or setting new boundaries with a friend or family member to ensure those close relationships aren’t detrimental to your well being. It might give you the courage to leave a job that is negatively impacting your health or consuming all your time. By identifying the aspects in life that are most important to you, you can reduce the time and money that might have gone into less important pursuits previously.

  1. More free time.

On your minimalism journey you will start to identify which aspects of life bring you joy and which don’t. Once you start saying no to things that don’t bring you joy, you can start freeing up more time to say yes to thing that do. Whether that be limiting social events with people that you don’t genuinely enjoy spending time with in order to find more time to spend with those who you do love to see, or finding ways to better balance your time between friends, colleagues and family so you aren’t neglecting relationships that are important to you. It’s also important to allow time to reset our batteries so this include blocking out time in our schedule for relaxation or to allocate time to hobbies that may have seemed impossible to fit in.

  1. You will be able to remove the excess in your life to focus on what is more important.

Having less clutter and adopting a minimalist approach allows for more time and money to spend on things that are valuable to you. Removing the excess means you might reduce the need for a large home to store unnecessary possessions. This could give you the opportunity to downsize your home saving you money on your rent or mortgage, potentially require less hours working to pay for that larger home and save you time each week in cleaning and maintenance that can be freed up for more enjoyable activities. Removing the excess in your life can open up new opportunities and allow you to take on new goals that you might not have been able to take up in the past.

  1. Showing you the joy of experiences over material possessions.

Minimalism has helped me to realise the joy of experiences over material possessions. Buying material possessions may brings a temporary increase in happiness, but that disappears over time once we adapt to having that item and wears off much quicker than experiences. When you prioritise experiences over material possessions it provides you with joy that no physical purchase can really come close to particularly if the experience is shared with someone. These are memories that we can talk about for years to come with loved ones, and share our joy with future generations and although they may not provide us with a physical thing to show in our homes, the memories are with us for life. Tomorrow is not given, don’t hold off on experiences in the pursuit of stuff.

  1. Letting go of what others expect of us.

 There is so much pressure placed on everyone to have the most impressive sounding job, newest car, biggest home and the focus has shifted away from what makes us happy to what we can do to impress others. Minimalism helps us to shift the focus from being defined by others expectations and is a tool to help us put our needs first. If it is important to you to be debt free and drive a reliable, affordable car instead of a new more impressive vehicle do that.  Maybe it is more important to you to have more free time to follow other passions than having a high-stress managerial position with long hours.  Spend less time worrying about what other people expect of you and focus on doing what makes you happy. The more of us who chose to follow a path of happiness, the more we can help to set a new example to those who do feel the pressure to live up to society’s expectations to break out of that mold and follow their own passions.

  1. More focus on health.

Minimalism helps you to prioritise the essential things in life, one of the most important being health. It can be easy to get caught up in day-to-day life bills, chores and work and long-term your health is going to suffer if your well being takes a backseat to those other priorities. Minimalism can help redirect your focus away from what you might be spending your time on such as 20 minutes of Facebook scrolling and make you more aware of your habits so you can make conscious changes to more useful activities such as exercise. These changes will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders, a weight you might not have even realised was there.  Reducing debt and decluttering your home environment and schedule, can greatly increase our happiness.

  1. You find more direction in life.

When you clear the excess, the bills and debt, the clutter, and get down to what you truly love, you start applying this philosophy to other aspects of your life – not just the stuff. Does this house bring me joy or does it just take up my spare time cleaning it? Am I passionate about this course I am doing? Could I have my dream job if I could take a pay cut? Minimalism seeps into all areas of life and can open you up to a whole new direction in life. It helps us to regularly reassess where we are in life and over time trains us to apply our thinking of small decisions such as do I need this kitchen gadget to the bigger decisions that have a larger impact on our life.

  1. Less decision making.

Minimalism helps us find ways to reduce every day decision making which takes away from more valuable uses of our creativity. Decisions such as what to wear to work today take up more thought processing than necessary. Having a massive wardrobe can lead to unnecessary stress and overwhelm us before we’ve even stepped out of the house. A capsule wardrobe like in Courtney Carver’s Project 333 http://bemorewithless.com/project-333/ can be a curated selection of your favourite clothing, shoes and accessories that can be mixed and matched and save decision overload. Same goes for preparing dinner, trying to have endless recipe options can get overwhelming. Life can be simplified so much more by limiting everyday decisions so we can focus on more important things.   

  1. Spend less time cleaning.

Nothing has sped up the cleaning process in my home like Minimalism has. Less is definitely more here. Removing stuff from your home allows you to spend less time cleaning it. Fewer things on the floor means a quicker vacuuming and mopping process. Limited stuff on the counter tops allows more room for food preparation and is much easier to wipe those benches down. Less decor saves you on dusting extra stuff – I now see pretty things in stores and ask myself would I be willing to dust that? The less stuff in your car, the less time you will spend tidying it up when someone needs a lift. A massive benefit to my home was having a smaller wardrobe, which has made it so much easier to get on top of our laundry instead of attempting to try and tackle baskets of unwashed clothing we now have manageable loads.

  1. Allows you to be grateful for what you have.

After realising how much I don’t need to be happy I’ve developed a greater appreciation for what I do have. I don’t feel the need to have the best of everything and am so grateful that I have the knowledge at this age of how important experiences and relationships are over things. Minimalism has helped me to acknowledge the small joys in everyday, whether that be time spent with a close friend or a lovely home cooked meal. The emphasis is not on what you buy or accomplish to impress others but on what truly makes you happy.

I am excited to see where minimalism and intentional living takes me in the future and hope to see even more benefits over time. If you have adopted a minimalist inspired lifestyle comment below with what benefits have you found and how minimalism has helped you.

Organising

12 Simple Bedroom Organisation Tips

 There is nothing worse than walking into your bedroom after a long day at work and seeing piles of mess all over. Laundry on the floor, loose coins piled up on the bedside table, quilt and sheets on the floor – this used to be my daily visuals until I decided that I needed to have my bedroom as a place of calmness and tranquility. Here are some tips I found helped me achieve a mess-free organised bedroom without too much effort.

1. Make your bed every day

Always make your bed. It’s the first thing you will notice when you walk into your room and gives a sense of cleanliness and order at a glance. Even better it only take a minute or less! 

2. Reduce Clutter

Remove clutter or items that don’t belong. The key is to have make sure everything as a home. If stuff from other rooms in the home seems to be creeping into your bedroom remove it. An easy trick is to have baskets for each person in the household n which you can return their items to without having to take multiple trips.

3. Keep a clothes hamper in your bedroom

Put a clothes hamper in your bedroom, bathroom or wardrobe to keep laundry off the floor. Better yet, get one with compartments for sorting.

4. Create a capsule wardrobe

In order to avoid the morning stress associated with having to pick something to wear from an overflowing wardrobe, consider de-cluttering your wardrobe or creating a capsule wardrobe. A more streamlined wardrobe filled with items you love will make getting ready a breeze and ensure those days of clothing strewn all over the floor are well behind you. 

5. Limit items on bedside tables

Keep bedside table items to a minimum. It looks less cluttered and will be easier when it comes time to dust. Keep the book you are currently reading but put the others away.

6. Organise Like Items together

Keep like items together; jewellery, hats, handbags etc so they are easy to locate and you can see what you have before going out shopping and coming home with duplicate items.

7. Utilise over door hangers

Use over door hangers for easy to store options for things like shoes and jewellery. Over-the-door hooks can be used to store clean but worn clothing for re-use. This will help keep clothes that can be worn again off the floor and provides great additional storage space.

8. Keep the floor clear

Keep as little on the floor as possible. Open spaces do wonders for the appearance of tidy. A hamper in the corner or cupboard will greatly help to achieve this!

9. Use the Kon-Marie folding method to maximise space

Fold your clothes Kon-Marie style. This method allows you to fit more in your drawers, reducing the number of chest drawers you will need, and allows you to see your clothes at a glance. They also stay much tidier than just thrown in when you have to dig through other clothes to find your favourite shirt. I made this change and will never go back. Here is a video containing the instructions on how to fold clothing the Kon-Marie way. 

10. Be selective with what you bring into your bedroom space

Be selective with what you bring into your space. Try to implement the one in one out rule for clothing to avoid closet chaos. Don’t buy endless decorative items that take up space and attract dust. Select a few you love and keep the rest from cluttering up your room.

11. Use boxes and containers for drawer organisation

Using boxes like IKEA Skubb or DIY versions to organise drawers into sections. This can be great to organise bras, underwear and socks or shirts into sections.

12. Implement a plan for worn clothing

Ensure every time you wear something you assess does it need to be washed or will I wear this again. Find a system that works for you. I put dirty clothes immediately into a hamper in the bathroom and if it is something that can be worn a second time, I will hang it up on hooks behind our bathroom door. Alternatively put it back on a coat hanger in your closet or have a specific drawer for clothes you want to wear again but to keep them separate from the unworn clothes. Once you get into the habit of this, clothes left lying on the bedroom or bathroom floor – or wherever is your clothing hotspot in the house – will be a thing of the past.

I hope these will be some useful tips for your household so you too can maintain a beautiful calming organised bedroom space. Please let me know in the comments what tips you have for maintaining an organised bedroom in your home.